Video round up: the videos that got us talking this week

If you want suggest more videos for next week’s round up post a comment on the blog or the Facebook page

Our Zero Carbon Britain research team pointed out this video. Useful for anyone who needs some info on counteract the current climate skeptic stuff that’s going on in the media.

The Robin Hood Tax is a project launched on the 10th of February 2010 calling for a tiny tax on bankers that would raise billions to tackle poverty and climate change, at home and abroad. By taking an average of 0.05% from speculative banking transactions, hundreds of billions of pounds would be raised every year. That’s easily enough to stop cuts in crucial public services in the UK, and to help fight global poverty and climate change. Over 50 organisations have signed up in support of the project, including CAT- find out more here Robinhood Tax

The Story of Cap and Trade Cap and trade is made simple in this film from US sustainability activist Annie Leonard. Find out why the ‘carbon market’ solution to reducing emissions, may not be such a quick fix after all

CAT’s Graduate School Bridges Gap to a Sustainable Society

by Kate Blair

This week the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) plays host to seventy students on the MSc in Renewable Energy and the Built Environment (REBE). Students eat communally and stay in onsite accommodation during five days of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practicals as part of monthly residential modules at CAT’s Graduate School of the Environment (GSE).

There is increasing public concern over the problem of climate change resulting from the use of depleting fossil fuels- one of the best solutions to this is the deployment of renewable energy technologies. The UK has tremendous renewable resources including 40% of Europe’s offshore wind capacity, yet as REBE course leader Mike Thompson states

“The escalating nature of climate change makes need for renewable energy urgent but expertise in this area is not able to meet this need.  This programme is being developed to meet the specific demands of the industry in its quest to provide much needed expertise in this important area.”

REBE

Furthermore Bryce Scott a lecturer on the REBE course says “The technologies and economics of renewable energy are maturing but there is an enormous gap to bridge to shift society to a sustainable basis, so there is a lot of work to be done.”

The course is validated for full MSc status by the University of East London (UEL) and has recently been accredited by the Energy Institute that provides REBE students one route to becoming a chartered engineer. The programme offers a unique combination of design, evaluation and practical experience by lecturers who all work within the field, some with 30 years of experience, and each technology is utilised and taught on site.

David Hood is one of the lecturers on the REBE course  “Renewable energy is one of the fastest developing areas of engineering in the UK. The REBE course at CAT offers practical based learning in each of the main renewable energy systems, taught by professionals in the field.”

Continue reading “CAT’s Graduate School Bridges Gap to a Sustainable Society”

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Happy New Year

Frosty CATAfter the well-deserved Christmas break,  CAT staff began trickling back into the offices today, picking there way though the icy puddles that have descended on Llwyngwern quarry. Minus 11 temperatures have meant that all CAT’s cold water pipes are frozen and at the Quarry café in town the pipes have burst. Still the sun is shining and in top office we started the new year with a big office clean.

2010 is a big year for CAT; the multi million pound Wales Institute for Sustainable Development will be opening in spring and will see a packed programme of courses, conferences and events. CAT’s ground breaking report Zero Carbon Britain 2 will be released, setting out a clear policy framework for a rapid decarbonisation of the UK by 2030. The visitors centre circuit will reopen on March the 27th after being revamped, jiggled around and remodeled.

As well as these events CAT will continue to run courses on a wide range of topics and the graduate school continues to thrive. 2010 is also an important year for the climate, rapid action is needed if we are to avert the worst effects of climate change and stay below a 1.5 degree temperature rise.  At CAT we hope to continue to inspire, inform and enable people towards practical solutions for sustainable living.

Happy New Year and we hope to see you soon

No deal in Copenhagen

There was no deal in Copenhagen, don’t believe the hype, it was a total, chaotic failure. Every leader and delegation that was present knows that the world faces environmental catastrophe if they do not act now on climate change. The UN process was unable to find a way forward and the process failed to produce anything meaningful.

What happened in the closing hours of the climate talks is vital in understanding the imbalances of the world we are living in. On the 18th of December, the plenary hall podium was given to Obama, he selected 16 guests who would have the exclusive right to speak. The rest of the world’s countries had only the right to sit and listen. The following press conference announced to the world that the US-led climate deal was agreed upon, it was called the Copenhagen accord and would limit temperature rises to less than 2C. CNN announced a breakthrough and world headlines screamed “ meaningful agreement.”

But there had been no agreement in Copenhagen; it was far from a done deal. Ministers and delegations were still sitting around the tables arguing until the next morning. At the final plenary, the chair of the discussions Rasmussen introduced Obama’s Copenhagen Accord in glowing terms saying that it had been produced by a “representative group of leaders from all countries around the world.” He then attempted to limit responses to 60 minutes- it was at that point that Venezuela started banging on the desk demanding to be heard, followed quickly by Bolivia, Sudan, Cuba and Tuvalu- refusing the accept the so- called “deal.”

As the climate chaos website states “ This mess is largely down to the actions of some industrialised countries – the arrogance of a few powerful leaders who took over and twisted the negotiations to their particular needs is truly astounding.” As Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, stated last night, “If the climate were a bank, they would have bailed it out already.”

So where now?

Copenhagen was a bitter disappointment for many, it was heart breaking to see the despair in the faces of friends made over the two weeks in Copenhagen as the news came in about the lack of deal. For many from the Alliance of Small Island States, Maldives or Africa this COP was about the survival of their country and peoples in the face of climate change. It is clear that solutions exist to the climate crisis, many of the side events, workshops and presentations that took place during COP15 showed positive and real things that can be done here and now. The Centre for Alternative Technologies report Zero Carbon Britain is one such solution. The report outlines clearly how we can rapidly decarbonise the UK by 2030.

At the Klimaforuma a declaration entitled “System Change – Not Climate Change was produced, “What people and the planet need is a just and sustainable transition of our societies to a form that will ensure the rights of life and dignity of all people and deliver a more fertile planet and more fulfilling lives to present and future generations,” it states. The signatory organisations called on governments to take urgent climate action, most importantly the “complete abandonment of fossil fuels within the next 30 years, which must include specific milestones for every five-year period.”

Continue reading “No deal in Copenhagen”